A piece of artifice, a symbol of defiance against mortality, yet subject to the same laws of nature as the warm and fluttering little sparrow.
In the end, it is not in the lofty ivory tower that we find our salvation, but in the dark depth of the earth, the sea, and space itself, where nameless things strike fear in hearts brittle of hubris.
Displayed in the Saint-Étienne church in France is the figure of René de Chalon, Prince of Orange. The prince died at the young age of 25 during the siege of Saint-Dizier in 1544.
Rather then memorialize him in the standard hero form, his wife requested (or René himself requested, or possibly both) that he be shown as “not a standard figure but a life-size skeleton with strips of dried skin flapping over a hollow carcass, whose right hand clutches at the empty rib cage while the left hand holds high his heart in a grand gesture.” (Source)
Libraries in London, photographed at the end of the 19th and early 20th century.
From top down: Royal Geographical Society; Institution of Civil Engineers; Royal United Services Institute; Battersea Polytechnic Institute)
(Photos by Bedford Lemere)